Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The National Guard: ominous possibilities

Erudite Partner takes up the story of our "citizen soldiers" -- the various state National Guards.

... although President Obama officially ended Operation Enduring Freedom (the US’s post-9/11 war in Afghanistan) in 2014, the Guard continues to deploy to that very war zone, with 400 Illinois reservists, another 400 from Wisconsin, 100 from Georgia, 50 from Colorado, and 46 from New York sent there as recently as this December and January. And not only are they being deployed to Afghanistan, but they’re still dying there. Among the 60 sent from Utah in November 2018, for instance, was Brent Taylor, the mayor of the town of North Ogden, who was killed during an “insider attack” at a base in Kabul. Given the provisional peace agreement reportedly now being negotiated between the United States and the Taliban, there is at least a modest hope that the deployments of such part-time soldiers to America’s longest war may end in some imaginable future.

... the Guard now goes everywhere the regular Army and Air Force go. Its members have served in US conflicts in Syria, Yemen, and Libya, among other places. They are now deployed in at least 56 countries around the world, from Macedonia and Kosovo to Egypt, not to mention the Mexican border inside the United States.

Just this week, we learn that new Democratic governors in New Mexico and California are withdrawing their state Guard units from Trump's border charade. But she points out that U.S. authorities have used the Guard extensively within the country when they thought they could get away with it.

In 1894, the Illinois National Guard had a hand in putting down a national strike by railroad workers organized by the American Railroad Union. In 1914, the National Guard fired machine guns into a tent city of striking miners and their families in Ludlow, Colorado, killing more than 20 people. The mining company belonged to John D. Rockefeller Jr.

In more recent years, Guard members have been used less as violent strikebreakers than as scabs, replacing striking workers, especially in public-sector jobs. A 1982 study, for example, found that, over the previous decade, various units were called in 45 times to replace city or state employees, prison guards, mental-health workers, community transit workers, and—infamously—under President Ronald Reagan, air-traffic controllers.

In 2011, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker threatened to bring in the National Guard if public-service workers went on strike. ...

She concludes:

God help us all if Donald Trump figures out that he’s actually the commander in chief of a force that, unlike the US military, can legally be deployed for law-enforcement purposes inside the United States itself. He remains a flailing, failing president, with the sensibility of an autocrat who, from the beginning of his time in office, has conflated the protection of the country with the protection of Donald J. Trump and his obsessions. While I don’t expect him to call out the National Guard to put down anti-Trump demonstrations any time soon, I didn’t expect him to be elected president either.

Read all about it.

Photo by Benjamin Faust on Unsplash.


Joared said...

None of this is news to me as it follows the predictable and historically documented steps taken by dictators — and in recent history. I’ve previously pointed this out as did the NYT writer with both Russian and American citizenship. Our illustrious leader is on target for getting our military forces active on our shores so he can declare civil law. He needs more violence on our land — those violent groups he’s given a wink and a nod to must increase activity — says he’s against violence but they know differently, as he must proclaim civil law — he’s always known he had the power as Prez. and is systematically following the steps to get there. He just wants to create the public setting to try to make it look legit. Why do you think he’s been courting the military so much? Disappointing to him was not converting any of generals he put in WH — we hope. This has been clear for two years! Too many govt officials think they are in control just as occurred in another country during my lifetime— they learned the hard way they were wrong though some didn’t mind in the beginning. Must we learn the hard way, too? Hope it’s not too late. That’s why he’s ginning up crisis on the border. Getting too close to 2020 elections and Mueller Report release. Sure would help him to foster a little insurrection on our soil he’s likely thinking — gotta get the military working from his orders. He has repeatedly told us only he can fix things and he knows more about everything than any experts.

Joared said...

Marshall law is the actual term, not civil law.

Mary said...

And this effort will be aided also by these groups that are part of trump’s cult. Very scary indeed and so many people are oblivious.


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